Image via: blog.wired.com
Researchers at the UC Davis Cancer Center have discovered a molecule that may provide hope for treating a highly deadly form of cancer.
Researchers discovered a molecule that targets glioblastoma, which is the most common and most aggressive type of brain tumor.
“These brain tumors are currently treated with surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible followed by radiation to kill cancer cells left behind and systemic chemotherapy to prevent spread to nearby tissues,” said Kit Lam, senior author of the study and UC Davis chief of hematology and oncology. “It is unfortunate that this approach does not extend survival significantly. Most patients survive less than one year.”
In order to find new ways of treating this disease, researchers searched for a molecule that was able to be injected into the bloodstream to deliver high doses of medicine directly to the brain tumor cells, while keeping normal cells intact. They discovered a molecule - called LXY1 – “that binds with high specificity to a particular cell-surface protein called alpha-3 integrin, which is overexpressed on cancer cells.”
By implanting cancerous cells underneath the skin and in the brains of mice, scientists wanted to test the molecule’s ability to attack brain cancer. Injecting the mice with LXY1, they found that the molecule did bind to the glioblastoma cells in both the skin and the brain.
“This outcome gives us great hope that we will be able to deliver targeted therapies to treat glioblastoma,” said Lam.
The researchers plan to carry out more testing of LXY1 by repeating the experiments using powerful cancer treatments.
Source: UC Davis News Release